Work in Sports
DENVER (Ticker) -- Ray Bourque allowed a trade to the Colorado Avalanche so he could pursue an elusive Stanley Cup championship. He wasn't about to let that pursuit end tonight.
Bourque scored in the second period before setting up Chris Drury's game-winner with 3:51 remaining as the Avalanche forced a decisive seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars.
A 21-year veteran who has never won a championship, Bourque flung the puck toward the net from the left point. Drury, a former Little League World Series hero, jumped and bunted it past goaltender Ed Belfour with the shaft of his stick to end a six-game scoring drought.
"I came right out of the bench. ... I escaped the guy coming to me," Bourque said. "I just wanted to get the puck to the net and Chris went to the net hard."
Six of Drury's 10 career playoff goals have been game-winners, including half of his four in this year's postseason. It was the first goal Dallas allowed in the third period in its last 15 playoff road games.
"It might have ticked my stick, but it hit my knee," Drury said.
"I just was trying to tip at it. For all the shots we've thrown at him, it was finally good to get one in. I was at the right place at the right time."
Patrick Roy stopped 26 shots, including all 13 after Brett Hull's power-play goal lifted Dallas into a 1-1 tie in the second period.
"I don't know if there's momentum, I hope there is," Roy said.
"We got a break on the Chris Drury goal. This is a series with two very good hockey teams. It's a fine line between winning and losing so far. The big breaks were for us today."
The defending Stanley Cup champions will host Game Seven on Saturday night. With New Jersey and Philadelphia poised for a decisive game on Friday in the Eastern Conference, both Stanley Cup semifinals will go seven games for the second time in NHL history and the first since 1964.
"We played a great game today," said Stars coach Ken Hitchcock.
"The more the series goes, the more we dig in. We will have to be really good in Game Seven, but we are on the right path. We played a gritty, grindy game. This series is right where we should be at. I really like the way we are playing."
Colorado is trying to duplicate the feat of Dallas, which last year rallied from a three games to two deficit to eliminate the Avalanche and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
"I really was excited about this one," Bourque said. "This is why I came here, to be in situations like this. I really feel good about our chances. I felt confident about getting the job done."
"Tonight, he carried this team," added Colorado coach Bob Hartley. "He made a lot of plays offensively to make things happen."
Dallas played most of the game without defenseman Richard Matvichuk, who suffered a concussion midway through the first period after taking an elbow to the head from Dave Andreychuk, although no penalty was called. Matvichuk's status for Game Seven is unknown.
"It's not good. It was an ugly hit," Hitchcock said. "Rules are simple. If he's out, so should No. 38 (Andreychuk). It had a pretty big effect."
The Avalanche had a 9-6 edge in shots in a scoreless first period. Dallas' Kirk Muller had the best scoring chance when he broke in from the right wing and got off a one-handed shot and tested Roy with the rebound with 2:24 left.
Colorado turned up the pressure early in the second period as Milan Hejduk forced Belfour to make a left skate save in the opening minute but fanned on a shot from the doorstep moments later.
Joe Sakic, who has only two assists in the series, broke down the right side on a 2-on-1 but pulled his shot wide of the right goalpost with 16:59 remaining.
The Avalanche finally broke through less than two minutes later.
With both teams down a man, Sakic blocked Sylvain Cote's shot at his own blue line and beat the defenseman to a loose puck along the boards in the Dallas zone. He passed into the slot to a cutting Bourque, who moved down the slot and put a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net to end a 17-game playoff drought.
"I had the puck in front of me, I just dipped it," Bourque said.
"It was a quick shot and caught Eddie on the way down."
Penalties cost Colorado later in the period. Drury was serving a tripping minor when Adam Foote caught Stars center Mike Modano at the Avalanche blue line and was called for high-sticking at 11:50. Modano appeared to injure his left knee but returned later.
With 27 seconds left on the ensuing two-man advantage, Sergei Zubov whipped a cross-ice pass off the right boards and found Hull, who snapped a patented a one-timer between the pads of a sliding Roy for his fifth goal of the series and ninth of the playoffs.
"Any chance that guy gets, he is going to put it on net and put it on the net hard and end up scoring," Avalanche defenseman Aaron Miller said. "He got the one goal on the 5-on-3, but we think we did a pretty good job of handling their skilled players."
With 86 career postseason tallies, Hull moved past Mike Bossy into fifth place on the all-time list.
The Stars dominated territorially for much of the third period but Roy made 11 saves. He bailed out his teammates after a bad line change gave former Avalanche Mike Keane a solid chance from the slot with 10:55 to play.
"Patrick is a great fighter," Hartley said. "Some guys in the league are wrestlers, but he is a fighter."
Earlier, Belfour made a sliding pad stop on Hejduk's point-blank chance following a giveaway by Stars captain Derian Hatcher.
Belfour finished with 19 saves but fell to 15-2 when able to eliminate an opponent.